Hidden exhibition at Rookwood Cemetery

Body masks by Priscilla Bourne

Body masks by Priscilla Bourne

The distance between (coupling) by Nadia Odlum

The distance between (coupling) by Nadia Odlum

Two Mountains artists have been selected to exhibit their work as part of the 11th annual Hidden Rookwood Sculpture exhibition.

Held within the grounds of Rookwood from September 7 to October 7, the cemetery is transformed into an open-air exhibition, providing a unique way for visitors to engage with and experience Rookwood.

Glenbrook artist, Nadia Odlum, has been selected for her work, The distance between (coupling). It is a playful exploration of light and perception, consisting of panels of two-way mirrored acrylic and mirror polished stainless steel. In ambient light, the two-way mirrored acrylic is both reflective and see-through, creating a distorted double image of the world and its reflection.

The artwork is an exploration of perceptual activity, particularly in the context of navigating through urban environments. As the audience moves around the sculptures, the reflections will line up and seem to multiply infinitely. Through these illusory qualities this work will highlight for the audience their own processes of perception.

Odlum hopes the audience will not only engage with their own self-perception, but also how they relate to others around them.

"A cemetery is a place where people are searching for connection," she said. "When you see the illusion, you notice not only yourself, but those around you. It allows audiences to share this experience with others and create a sense of mutuality."

Priscilla Bourne from Lawson has created Body Masks, a colourful rejoinder to morose marble and an invitation to celebrate life amongst sombre surroundings.

The work consists of two large sculptures inspired by urban animals including rats, pigeons, kangaroos, snakes and bats. Neither entirely anthropomorphic nor animalistic, these totemic beings are a monument of a different sort. Body masks are what is left after a total transformation.

According to Bourne, "they are a kind of mind and body masquerade. They are intended to lift the burden of our worldly concerns, and invite us to transform and play as a different being."

Bourne anticipates that the artwork will inspire greater understanding of our environment so that we may empathise and coexist with the creatures that surround us.

According to Hidden curator Kath Fries, the exhibition is a "fantastic opportunity to engage ... with the layered histories and current relevance of Rookwood as a working cemetery".

"The artists bring a diverse range of perspectives to the experiences and narratives of this unique place. Hidden invites the public to rediscover Rookwood through different eyes.

This year, there is a poignant emphasis on the themes of loss and mourning, as many of the selected artists have a personal connection to the cemetery through their loved ones. The exhibition will also include student and film categories as well as the renowned sculpture works.